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Money Matters

From the 6 April 2018, Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) will be changing to a loan.

SMI is a benefit paid towards the interest on a claimants mortgage and some home improvement loans. If a claimant does not opt in, SMI benefit payments will cease and they will have to pay their mortgage interest another way.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Affordability

Arguably, one of the most controversial welfare reform policies – the decision to disallow the payment of the “housing cost element” in a Universal Claim to 18 – 21 year olds – has been removed by the Government today. Housing Rights welcome what has been described as a “U-Turn” in Government policy.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform
Universal Credit logo

Strabane and Lisnagelvin will be the fourth area in Northern Ireland to have Universal Credit introduced on the 17 January 2018.

This new benefit will replace Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Job Seekers Allowance and income related Employment and Support Allowance.  Anyone of working age who gets these benefits will be affected.

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Benefits, Money Matters

Elements of Universal Credit will pose significant challenges for claimants, advisers and landlords. Housing Rights has particular concerns about how Universal Credit deals with changes of circumstance, particularly in respect of tenants who move home during an assessment period. Changes of circumstances are backdated to the beginning of the assessment period in which the change happened.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Policy, Affordability

The House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion has just published their report, “Tackling financial exclusion: A country that works for everyone?”

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Money Matters, Outside NI, Equality, Affordability

Housing Rights Consultation Response on Reforming the Rating System

Housing Rights notes that several aspects of our response to the previous ‘Review of Rate Liability in the Domestic Rental Sector’ have not been incorporated in the draft proposals. The specific issues raised, which largely relate to rates liability in the rental sector as well as rates recovery, are significant concerns for those who contact our advice service for assistance. It is with disappointment, therefore, that we note that none of these points have been progressed to the proposals contained in the current paper.

The substance of this response therefore contains specific comments on particular proposals contained in the ‘Rates Rethink’ paper, as well as reiterating points made in relation to the previous review of rate liability in the domestic rental sector, which the current proposals are silent on.

 

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Money Matters, Regulation, Policy

New research by Bristol University has investigated the UK poverty premium – when low-income households pay more for essential goods and services compared to those on higher incomes. 

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Money Matters, Research, Affordability

Financial Capability week runs from 14 November to the 20th November. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of financial capability.

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Money Matters, Practical tips, Affordability

Housing Rights Responds on House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion:

In the course of our work, we regularly advise and represent clients who are financially excluded. In our experience, financial exclusion is a significant concern in Northern Ireland, and the patterns of this exclusion are often distinct from the rest of the United Kingdom.  Housing Rights is therefore grateful for the opportunity to offer some comments on several topics highlighted in the Select Committee’s call for evidence.

 

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Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Policy

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